Once again, my love for drafts has overcome my almost complete ignorance and bandwagoness as an NBA fan.
While I have little to no inside-the-NBA type expertise, I am an NBA Draft expert. Just not in the same way Jay Bilas or Fran Fraschila is. Those guys watch games and evaluate performances at the combine. I’m much more efficient. All it really takes five minutes on NBA Draft night to determine a player’s fate.
Last year I broke down exactly how Brandon Knight would affect the Pistons’ horrible NBA Jam roster. The people spoke. It was one of the Hustle’s most successful posts of all time.
Unfortunately, I can’t do that this year. NBA Jam hasn’t released a new game or updated the rosters. If they have, I haven’t played it or with them, so my break down would based on the days when rip Hamilton was still a Piston.* This year it’s all about reality. I have to say, I’m a bit concerned. He’s going to need some time.
When ESPN cut to Drummond before he was picked, two things jumped out. His ears are really far back on his head. And he looks sleepy. Then the tears started to flow. He was crying BEFORE he got picked. That’s a confident man. It would have been embarrassing if the Pistons went with Austin Rivers.
In those first couple of moments, I enjoyed the waterworks. The single tear out of each eye was a lot more powerful than the full-on river of tears. The Crying Indian-esque performance made it look like he really wanted to come to Detroit. Then I remembered that Titus Young did the same thing when he got drafted by the Lions. Apparently he punched the team’s best safety out of love.
The rest of Drummond’s reaction was subdued, but there was no sign of the Fat Urkel, ‘I’m-going-to-walk-up-on-stage-like-I-just-got-called-to-the-principal’s-office’ look on his face. Drummond was having a good time. It was like he didn’t even realize he was about to be the second famous Drummond in Detroit of all time, behind kick-return extraordinaire Eddie. He got up, put the flat-billed Pistons cap on and started hugging his family members.
The first sign of trouble happened when he hugged what I presumed to be his mom.
She was skinny. Any NBA draft veteran knows that the bigger the mom, the more entertaining the player. Shaq’s mom? Distinguished…but husky. Durant’s mom? Well, everybody got enough looks at her during the playoffs. The Pistons got boring again.
“It gives you a rim protector,” Jay Bilas told us. “You got to have somebody that’s going to protect the rim.”
Protect the rim. No easy buckets. Got it.
Bilas mentions the word freak three times when giving his evaluation. Drummond’s entertainment value rebounded (pun absolutely intended).
At this point I began thinking Hakeem Olajuawon, circa 1984,** combined with that dude in the Mountain Dew commercial five years ago. These thoughts were fleeting. Moments later Bilas dropped the first of what would be many bombs. He mentioned wingspan just three times.
Any player with a good amount of wingspan has the word mentioned at least five times by Bilas, twice more by the other analysts and the lucky ones get a Jeff Van Gundy wingspan joke about wingspan. Wingspan.
Then: the offense isn’t there.
Usefulness dropped. Entertainment value plummeted.
He shoots 29 percent from the free throw line.
Usefulness went into a freefall. Entertainment value increased slightly.
He supposed to be a high school senior this year.
Usefulness goes stops just short of the floorboard. Entertainment resumed plummeting.
Remember when you were a high school senior? How much of a use were you to society? How well-spoken or intelligent? How much could you command a room? Or a team full of adults?
Andre Drummond’s not going to come into the NBA and dominate right away. He’s not going to be in the starting lineup. Beat reporters are going to hate talking to him. He’s a project. The could be good for a team that’s building for the long term, but terrible for somebody searching for a reason to care about the Pistons next season.
But nothing was more revealing than his plodding walk across the stage. He looked a little gimpy. He’s injury prone. Get the medical staff on this kid quick.
The handshake with David Stern looked firm and had only the traditional two pumps. Nothing about this kid screams entertainment.
He looked sleepy.
Even when they cut to a commercial, Drummond was inexplicably holding an A-frame ladder. At the end of the bit he set it down did a terrible Dougie. It was too quick. He never committed to it. Horrible effort. I question his motor.
The interview with Mark Jones was boring, but did showcase a gold tie, with a solid Windsor knot, and a matching pocket square that fit well with his gold earrings. I don’t know if I can give him credit for that. Skinny Mom tampered with those selections.
During the interview he seemed sleepy. I did enjoy Mark Jones raining on the best day of his life by dropping a surprising question about how teams questioned motor. I can see why.
Andre Drummond is a tall high-school kid. The questions are endless: his motor, whether he’s ready for the NBA, how much he is going to play, why his ears are so far back on his head, why his mom is such a health nut, etc.
It all adds up to my Five Minutes of the NBA Draft Official Scouting Report: the Drummond pick won’t pay off right away. He needs time to develop an offensive game. And a personality. Be wary of leg and knee injuries. While other people tell me this is a good pick, I see a ‘freak athlete’ who turns a good but not great player overall. The biggest impact will be on the defensive end. On the other hand, his lateral quickness is remarkable. So there’s that.
“Detroit here I come,” Drummond said at the end of his interview.
*(But for the record, this is a perfect NBA Jam pick. Drummond’s would be rated in the green zone, probably a nine, for blocks are high and just because he’s a power forward the power rating would be at least a 9. Big men don’t need to shoot in this game and his dunk rating would be passable. He’d be the perfect presence on defense to knock people over and would have enough power and skill on the offensive end to not get knocked down when he went in for the dunk.)
**(I pretend like I know what I’m talking about, but I was negative six years old in 1984.)